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Exploring the Challenges of Manufacturing with Learning Machine Vision

Visual inspection camera in the ABB Vaasa factory.

AP Vision developed a new, deep-learning based machine vision solution for the final inspection of a product in an assembly line. Co-working with the factories and answering to their specific needs created great opportunities for a small company.

AP Vision, found in 2009, is a Finnish company specialised in machine vision. Today the company employs two experienced machine vision specialists. Mika Saarinen joined in two years ago but has over 25 years’ experience on the field.

AP Vision creates turnkey solutions based on machine vision. The company is an official partner of Cognex – the world’s leading provider of vision systems and builds its systems with Cognex equipment.

The Reboot IoT Factory project became familiar to AP Vision via their partner factory ABB Vaasa – the factory invited their long-time contractor in. In the project the factories introduce the problems and challenges they are facing in the production and the companies such as AP Vision explore them to find a solution. ABB needed inspection carried out by machine vision and AP Vision was a perfect partner for that.

Learning-based Machine Vision Tackled the Challenge

The challenge of ABB consisted of inspection of a one specific product on the automatic assembly line. They needed a system to make sure the product is assembled correctly. To make it easier, the factory already had a camera on the assembly line’s final inspection station. That camera collected the testing material needed to pilot the deep learning algorithm. Algorithms based on neuro-networks are one of the most recent trends on the field, but already familiar to Mika Saarinen:

”The development process was amazingly easy. This is a technical challenge we have been trying to solve with traditional rule-based algorithms for years, but it is not going to happen that way. The novelty of algorithms based on deep neuro-networks is that we can now solve problems that were previously very difficult.”

The solution’s Proof of Concept (PoC) is ready, waiting only for the paperwork to be completed until it can be utilised in production.

The project was called Cognex Vidi Deep Learning Machine Vision PoC. We tested learning machine vision instead of traditional machine vision in one automation cell. The co-operation with AP Vision went well and the results are promising. The learning machine vision was able to perform the inspection in this cell more reliably than previously used rule-based application. Programming the system was faster and easier than it was with the old method. We are considering expanding the utilisation of the new technology into new implementations after this project is completed. -Mikko Jukkanen, ABB

Seamless Co-operation

Reboot IoT Factory has been establishing ecosystem that creates easy co-operation among researchers, SMEs and factories. The companies have fresh networks, and chances to introduce their products and technology to the new audiences.

The project work has fitted seamlessly to AP Vision’s everyday business and there have been fruitful consequences. The company got another case, a chance to work with GE Healthcare Finland in a project that aimed to implement Cognex’s neuro-network AI camera into inspecting the coupling cables’ solders of an oxygen measurement sensor. This solution is ready and currently being used in production.

Working with AP Vision has been very professional and focused. The target has been clear all the time: getting complicated visual inspection done by an AI camera and increase productivity. -Teuvo Reinikainen, GE Healthcare Finland


Interested in their work? Check out AP Vision’s website:

Text: Veera Kiurujoki, Design Inspis Oy

Image: Design Inspis Oy

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